If 2015 was the top of an investment wave in renewable energy, advocates for clean energy and a stable climate had best hope that 2016 was the trough. According to Mercom Capital Group, the world’s solar companies raised only US$9.1 billion in corporate financing last year through a variety of means—less than half the $25.3 billion committed in 2015.
In a survey of venture capital/private equity (VC/PE) financing, debt, and public market financing, the company found that only VC investments were up, slightly, from $1.1 to $1.3 billion. Debt financing fell by two thirds, from $18.3 to $6 billion. Public market financing was down even more steeply, from $6 to $1.8 billion.
Although 2016 saw green lights for more large-scale solar projects than 2015 (133 to 124), there was less money involved: $9.4 billion versus $11.6 billion. It was the same story with residential and commercial projects: 30 last year versus 24 in ’15, but only $4.9 billion committed, down from $5.7 billion. (The story didn’t indicate how much of the difference traced back to the falling cost of solar energy systems.)
“On a more positive note,” SeeNews Renewables reports, Raj Prabhu, Mercom’s CEO and co-founder, “said 2017 ‘looks better than expected, as lower module prices are expected to boost installation levels.’”